on March 14, 2012
Let me start by saying that I am a die-hard Silent Hill fan. I played the first game when it was released in 1999, which made me about 12 years old (my parents obviously made a very "wise" purchasing decision at the time) and bought every subsequent game (aside from the Japanese play novel and on-rails arcade game) on the dates of their release. Despite that the game disturbed me beyond words and gave me recurrent nightmares, I felt compelled to keep coming back for more just because it was such an inexplicable, bizarre, unique, emotional, "otherworldly" experience. I was never the type to lose sleep over movies and games about zombies, diseases or war/general violence; Silent Hill transcended those things to me because it was like it was pulled directly from my deepest, darkness nightmares and fears of evil, eternal damnation, etc. Silent Hill 1, 2 and 3 aren't "video games" so much as they are, in my opinion, works of absolute genius, developed by a handful of Japanese game designers that were clearly very well versed in classic horror films, novels and religious lore. They have set an incredibly high standard for anyone to attempt to live up to.
With that said, Silent Hill Downpour is certainly a valiant effort, not to be mistaken as the absolute failure that a couple of other reviews around the internet have described it as. It is a massive improvement from SH: Homecoming (which pretty much played out like someone watched the movie, played the first game for ten minutes and said, "OK, I get it.") but alas, still doesn't hold a candle to the first three games in terms of their artistry, imagination, soundtrack and the way they just... well, stuck with you, making you lose sleep and contemplate the overwhelming weirdness you had just witnessed.
First of all, The enemies in this game are somewhat unoriginal. It's ironic that the band Korn did the song for the trailer because one of the first enemies you encounter almost looks like a zombie version of one of the Korn band members; complete with black, parted bangs that hang over its face. The designers did a nice job of making the light reflect off of their bodies which appear to have a charred texture, reminiscent of Silent Hill 2's "prisoner" demons, which looked as if they were encased in their own burnt flesh. But despite this one cool visual effect, these creatures (referred to as, "screamers") aren't that disturbing. One of the other enemies you encounter are these tall, lanky beings that have the ability to crawl around on the ceiling and attack you from above... sounds scary, right? Not really. They're kind of goofy looking and their movements are a little bit too exaggerated. And the last type I'll mention (brace yourselves)... sex dolls with blacked out eyes whose ghosts are invisible and fight you. I mean, really? Luckily their existence in the environments makes for a much more frightening experience than the enemies do by themselves.
The other major downfall to this game is the overall lack of polish on the final product. Before buying this game I told myself the rumors of camera jitter, image chopping and framerate dips weren't going to effect my playing experience because I know there is supposed to be so much more to this series than the occasional programming flaw. Despite telling myself that, trust me, they do cut into the gameplay experience. None of the visual faults lie in the graphics themselves; only in the camera, the visual rendering and the occasional pop-up textures. While it is easy to overlook, it does make the game feel like less of a complete product than previous games. Hopefully the developers will take the hint and release a patch that fixes these issues because they take what would be in my mind a 4-star game and turn it into a 3-star one.
The environments are very detailed and it's clear the developers put a lot of time and effort into making sure everything looked truly abandoned, like it was inhabited at some point and the inhabitants just mysteriously disappeared one day. The crumbling walls, dusty interiors, strewn garbage and great lighting effects combine to create a chilling world that will feel like home to any hardcore Silent Hill fan. This is one of the game's biggest selling points. If it didn't feel like Silent Hill, it wouldn't be worth playing and it really does feel like Silent Hill. The dramatically improved graphics from previous entries in the series only adds to the believability. The only problem I have with the environments is that there are too many sections where you have a lot of visibility. That might sound strange to newcomers of the series but to old school fans like myself, the extremely limited visibility actually pulled the player deeper into the game, making them wonder what was going to be around every turn and just what unimaginable horrors lay just out of view. Luckily there are sections where the game is extremely dark and the only light you have is the light of your flashlight. These are the classic Silent Hill moments and by far the creepiest sections (look forward to the mines and certain cramped interiors, both on and off the beaten path).
Here is where my heart breaks a little bit. The "otherworld" sequences are a mix of engaging and totally cliche'. The "wall-peeling" mechanic introduced in the movie is something I've really grown tired of seeing. Not every transition has to come with the walls peeling away. Some of the transitions into the nightmare realm in Silent Hill 1, 2 and 3 didn't even involve sirens or anything; sometimes they involved going through some strange door, taking a ride on an elevator decorated with flesh or getting consumed by black veins and passing out. It's not just some stupid alternate dimension, it's a re-imaging of the current dimension incorporated with the main character's deepest and darkest fears. I'm so sick of it playing out like some silly trip to another planet or something. There are some cool things in the nightmare realm in this game, such as bodies rattling around in cages but you don't really get to enjoy them to their full extent when you're running from an all-consuming ball of light, which is not that scary. It's kind of scary when it catches you because Murphy (the main character) starts to peel away kind of like the walls and emits an ear-piercing scream but other than that the concept of the floating black hole is not really that frightening. I miss the days of stark black, chain link, blood, rust, walls that move and breathe like they're alive, strange pictures and statues posing in mind-boggling ways... these are the things that embody the nightmare universe, not some stupid vortex chasing you along catwalks.
Lastly, to be positive, I'm really happy they brought back the explorational elements of the game. There are so many different side quests to be experienced (many of them more eerie than the linear storyline itself) all with their own psychological rewards. The puzzles are the perfect degree of hard without being so hard that you want to pull your hair out and stop playing the game. The characters are particularly interesting and really remind me of the kind of 'people' one would encounter in a Silent Hill game including the main character, and the voice acting and motion capture are some of the best the series has ever seen.
To summarize, if you are a Silent Hill fanatic like me, there are fruits to be experienced in this game that will perhaps tide you over until a game comes out that is everything we could ever hope for (if that ever happens) but don't expect it to blow you away like the first three did. If you've never played a Silent Hill game, there is enough here for you to find enjoyable and unique, particularly if you're a fan of survival horror. There are cracks in the surface of this game and it's clear it isn't the work of 'Team Silent' but it is a worthy addition to the collection of anyone who takes an interest in the macabre and the generally bizarre. But it won't keep you up telling yourself it's the scariest thing you've ever seen. -Joman
on March 14, 2012
I've been eagerly awaiting this game for a long time. I've been playing Silent Hill games for as long as I can remember, and agree with the fact that the series was declining. WAS. Contrary to IGN's beliefs, this is the Silent Hill fans have been waiting for.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you all the pros and cons of the game, but I felt that I should defend the game's honor against a scathing IGN review giving the game 4.5 out of 10. Seriously...a 4.5? That implies the game is an unplayable piece of garbage, which SH:D most certainly is not. I was worried by all the negativity and honestly feared another Homecoming type experience (blah at best) but so far have been pleased by the offerings of Downpour.
I don't necessarily understand reviews that say the combat is "clunky." Its the first time in a Silent Hill game where the combat isn't actually just a pain in the ass and actually adds to the game. Items break and Murphy is by no means a superhuman, which means running away is your best bet more often than not. Firearms are VERY rare, meaning you save shots for when you have absolutely no other choice.
The game is among the scariest Silent Hills, and my first trip to Otherworld left me thinking WTF by the time I was free. The story itself is also interesting, because the player doesn't know if Murphy is an evil man or a good man who got caught up in bad circumstances. Little morality choices throughout the game don't seem to really matter, but I feel better inside knowing I at least tried to save the person dangling over the cliff.
All in all the game is a real return to form for the Silent Hill franchise. Be aware that there are minor framerate issues, but they in no way hinder gameplay. Usually they only happen when entering from one area to another, and never in the middle of a life and death fight (which is somewhat odd come to think about it). Don't believe the people at IGN giving it a 4.5. While it isn't the most perfect game ever, it's certainly at least an 8.0. Have fun in Silent Hill and make sure you have a light on nearby!
on March 13, 2012
I've never written a review before on here. I just got it, but I had to give my opinion due to the scores this title has been receiving. Mainly, IGN's abysmal 4.5/10 review.
The game begins with Murphy in prison and quickly sees his bus careen off-track during transport to another facility. This is where the game begins proper, and oh boy, is it freaky. There is still fog, and the rain adds a nice density to it.
You can use anything for a weapon. Frying pan, knife, hammer, broom, anything, which is realistic. This adds the elusive survival element that has been missing from horror since, well...Silent Hill 4. I've heard combat is clunky, but we're going for realism here. Murphy is a convict (for what is the million dollar question), so unless he's an expert murderer, he won't be good with weapons. And after you fight your first monsters (which are freaky), you won't feel like combat is clunky. At least it doesn't to me.
The only problem I see so far is lag when it's auto-saving, as well as the inability to save it whenever you want. These are minor grips. Also, it's worth noting that the achievements/trophies are actually fun to get in this game. The side quests will add a good dimension to Silent Hill, although I haven't come across those yet.
You can open doors slowly, too, which adds to the intensity of the horror. There are Otherworld sequences where you're getting chased by a mysterious black and red orb of light, and the first time you experience this in the game, you won't expect it. It adds an interesting chase set piece to the game.
So far, so good. Silent Hill fans needn't not hold their breath any longer. This is the real deal.
on March 15, 2012
Plenty of reviews on here already that cover much of what this game has to offer, so I think I will just keep it short and sweet with a "Good" and "Bad" list. This list is primarily for Silent Hill fans who are still debating about whether or not to pick up this chapter in the series. I, too, am a fan of the series, and dove into this game with plenty of hopes and dreads for where it would take the series. Bottom line: It's well worth the plunge because it's a hell of a lot of fun, but I did miss a lot of what made the first three games truly scary.
1. Nearly open-world exploration with plenty of side quests: I loved being able to run all over Silent Hill for most of this game (at least, when I wasn't blocked by construction barriers or missing roads), and the subway shortcuts simply added to this pleasure. The developers did an excellent job bringing this town to life, allowing the player to pop into houses, businesses, and apartment complexes to find reward items or side quests. The side quests really made this game for me, as they give Silent Hill more history and personality (and I mean in a good, morbid way). Plus, these quests are actually fun to complete, especially if you like exploring and solving puzzles.
2. Puzzle-solving: There is a nice variety of puzzles for players to tackle here, a few of which (the tougher ones) require exploration to solve. I played on the hard difficulty (for both game and puzzle levels), and even though the puzzles were challenging, they were not controller-hurling impossible.
3. A true sense of danger (though, unfortunately, not of dread -- see "THE BAD" #1 below): Even though there are many melee weapons available, they all break fairly easily. This, in addition to some unpredictable attack patterns from the enemies, brings a lot of tension back to Silent Hill (unlike in Homecoming, whose protagonist was a soldier and could easily slaughter anything that stepped in his path). Running is definitely a good idea.
4. Passing through doors: This may seem weird to those of you who haven't played this yet, but the way your character opens doors in Downpour is ingenious and COULD have really added to the terror. As you begin to open a door, the camera zooms in to over-the-shoulder mode, and you use the control stick to open the door as quickly or as slowly as you like, just in case you want to peek at what's on the other side before you go barreling in. Unfortunately, this would have been a LOT better if there were moments when the peek reveals something truly horrifying. Mostly, however, there are just empty rooms on the other side of that door.
5. The atmosphere: The overall feel of Downpour, in my opinion, is a true step in the right direction. Leaves twirl down onto the streets, everything is shrouded in mist (or fog), the collectible "mystery" items like letters and newspaper articles that Murphy picks up throughout the game, the dimly-lit and decaying dwellings -- all these make Silent Hill FEEL like a haunted place again.
6. The music: Actually very good, and adds to the point above. Never has "Born Free" been so freakin' creepy.
1. A real sense of DREAD: What made the first three Silent Hill titles so memorable was the DREAD caused by their monsters. I am talking real dread here. The kind of dread where you literally stop playing because you have to build up the courage to go down that hallway. Downpour mainly fails in its ability to realize how the first three games made their monsters work. There are only five monster types in Downpour, none of which are actually very scary. Silent Hill should be a place where the creatures are truly grotesque -- like, when they come shuffling through the fog so you can see them better, and you still can't figure out what it is you're looking at? The monsters in Downpour are too identifiable, too familiar. And they DON'T LURK, which totally sucks. In Downpour, if your walkie talkie starts squelching, chances are the monster sees you and will come charging right at you. The series needs to go back to those moments I had in Silent Hill 2 where I'm creeping through the darkened hallways of the hospital and my radio starts to crackle -- so I stop and try to peer far ahead into the gloom to see if I can make out one of those pistol-wielding nurses up ahead, or if she's just around the next corner, and I'm trying to decide if I have enough bullets to take her if I bump into her, but hopefully I can avoid her if I JUST KNEW WHERE THE HELL SHE WAS! Sigh. The developers have a really good thing going with that door-opening mechanic to rebuild this dread I used to have. Shame they did nothing with it. Yeah, the monsters in Downpour takes #1 for THE BAD.
2. The story: I actually debated about putting this in the "Good" section, because there IS a good story here -- but, it isn't Silent Hill quality, unfortunately. There was something literary in the first three titles that has been lost in recent installments. I mean, you can actually find extraordinarily in-depth essays online that try to tackle the themes, plot, and symbolism that were put into the early Silent Hill games. I'm an English teacher. I teach literature for a living. Even I was confused by the stories behind the first three Silent Hills --but it was a good confused. The early stories gave you just enough to paint a vague landscape of what was going on, and left you to ponder the details long after you had defeated the final boss. Recently, however, Silent Hill stories are basically spelled out for you, tossing art aside. Don't get me wrong, I LIKE the story in Downpour, but because I don't have to think about what just happened, it has become forgettable. Even the side quest stories, as cool as they are, are still all laid out for you. Shame.
3. The Otherworld scenes: First of all, there are not very many Otherworld transformations going on this time around, and when they DO happen, they are crap. The Otherworld is a Silent Hill staple -- an even DARKER version of an already dark place. For this to have been done right, there should have been moments when you had to wander Silent Hill (or your current level) in its Otherworld form. The Otherworld sequences in Downpour seem like completely different places, with very little (if any) representation of the level or location they are the "Otherworld" of. Then again, Silent Hill is bigger here than it has ever been, so perhaps making TWO versions would have been too much? I dunno, but judging from the size of games like Skyrim, I don't think this would have been a problem, and would have really been cool. Instead, we are treated to short sequences of "run from the glowing a**hole" moments and hope you pick the right path, because reloading is a bi*ch.
So, overall, I think that there are a lot of things going on that is right with this game, and could really be used to bring the series back to its heyday, maybe even SURPASS those initial titles if the developers hadn't dropped the ball on those three important points I listed in "THE BAD". Silent Hill will never be Silent Hill without those things.
on May 29, 2012
The Silent Hill franchise has had ups and downs. While none of the games have been bad it's obvious that some games (most notably SH 1-3) were better than the rest. My first SH experience was SH 2 when it launched in fall 2001. Shortly after finishing it I went out and bought the original game for PS1 and became a huge fan of the series.
Downpour is a bit of a departure from earlier games and it is not without its faults, but the areas where it succeeds it excels. The story line is the most compelling story since the second game. Too avoid spoilers I won't get much into it. The game play is improved from earlier games as well. The most fun in the game comes exploring Silent Hill. The develop team added side quests that are scattered all over the town which add a whole new level of immersion to the game. They function mostly has fetch quests and little side stories but they are a lot of fun and give you more things to do in the game. They can be skipped entirely, but they add quite a game time to Downpour versus by-passing them entirely.
I've always really loved the Silent Hill games. I own all the games and have beaten them all at least three times each (minus Downpour which I am currently replaying). Even the worst Silent Hill game in my opinion (SH 4: The Room) has been an above average game but I have to admit a lot of the magic was lost after SH3. The games were still a lot of fun but the experience wasn't the same anymore. I'm happy to say that Downpour was a very strong return to form for the franchise. If you look around message boards and reviews there is a very high percentage of SH fans stating they feel this is the best SH game since SH 2 or 3 and I am one of them. I wasn't too excited about the game early on (going off previews) so I did not follow it too closely. Perhaps that's why I am shocked that the game turned out so well. Every time the game transitions to the "Otherworld" you are in for a treat. The "Otherworld" segments in Downpour are really, really cool. The level design for these areas are some of the best in any of the games. I certainly took my time with sight-seeing on of the more bizarre Otherworld sequences.
Like I said above there are a few problems with the game. There's some frame rate issues and glitches (such as the subway passages not unlocking after finishing the side quest) and Konami has announced a patch to address these issues, which is fantastic. The other downside is that the monsters in the game weren't anything special but it doesn't distract from the over-all experience.
If you are a long time fan of the franchise, a former fan who fell out of the favor because of Team Silent disbanding/dissolving, or just curious to give the series a shot you could do a lot worse than Downpour. If Konami was smart they would book the development team for the next Silent Hill given how positive fan feedback has been.
I give this game a five star rating because it's my third-favorite Silent Hill game (after 1 and 2) and the fact that Silent Hill hasn't been this good in a decade merits a congratulation to all those who worked on the game.
on March 21, 2012
I consider Silent Hill to be my second favorite gaming series. The only entry I haven't played is Shattered Memories and there's not one I haven't liked. My favorite ended up being SH4 due to its story and the fact that I thought it was the most disturbing. It just freaked me out more than the others. Next up was SH3 because I thought it was the second scariest, had a good story, and had an actual likable protagonist. To be honest, Heather was the only one I had liked. I didn't care about Harry, I can't even remember Travis (from Origins), I hated James, and while Alex wasn't bad, I didn't care much about him. Heather, though, I actually liked. Homecoming, while maybe not up to par with some others, was still good IMO. It still had the Silent Hill feel and that's what's most important.
Now I have to admit that even with all that said, I was still a bit wary about Downpour. It mostly stemmed from the rain theme because I didn't think that would go over well. I'm not really interested with or scared by water. But it ended up working. The harder it rains, the harder it is to see and the more likely you are to run in to monsters.
First, I'll do the cons. There's really not many. The most obvious is the lag. I don't know if it's more prominent in the PS3 version or not, but it's really inexcusable. The game slow downs quite a bit for no real reason. You can just be running on the city streets and it'll start lagging.
Another negative is that you can only carry two weapons at a time. I have no problem with the whole weapons breaking thing because that makes perfect sense. You can only carry either one melee weapon, one melee weapon and one firearm, or two firearms. Granted, you don't really need the handgun or shotgun most of the time, but I still think you should be able to have those in your arsenal along with one melee weapon.
The other complaint I have isn't with the game's actual content, but a design thing--you can't skip cutscenes. I'm all for not being able to skip them the first time through, but after that, you should be able to skip them. You can't in Downpour. I can't imagine what thought process goes into that.
I don't really consider this much of a negative but others might and I understand why, so I'll mention it. Most of the enemies are a lot more human in appearance than in other Silent Hill games. The reason I think it didn't bother me is because despite that, coming across them still made me uneasy because of the combat and the atmosphere of the game. If I had a complaint about the monsters aspect, it'd be the lack of bosses, though the final one was cool looking and had an interesting way of beating it that fit in with the story itself. Speaking of combat...
Anyone who read IGN's review saw that it got a 4.5 and that a major complaint seemed to be that Downpour has clunky combat. I have to shake my head at this. Not because it's wrong, but because it's a ridiculous thing to complain about in a Silent Hill game. You cannot possibly knock down the score for it. Ridiculous complaints like that are, I'm sure, part of the reason we see so few survival horror games. Hopefully Vatra doesn't take that to heart and they realize you have to be a retard to complain about clunky combat in a Silent Hill game. There has never been a refined combat system in any of the games and, most likely, there never will be. It'd be like complaining about a Mario game not having realistic graphics--it's not supposed to! You probably shouldn't play or review a game if you hate a fundamental part of it.
So here we come to the most important aspect of the entire series as far as I'm concerned: atmosphere. When I say atmosphere, I'm including the design of the environments as well as the music and sound effects. The atmosphere in Downpour is amazing. There's a sense of dread and unease no matter where you are. You can be completely away from any monster but you still feel like something's going to pop out at you. I definitely jumped multiple times. There's a train ride in a mine that is creepy as hell. There are great little moments littered through the game. You'll hear a woman crying but if you replace a stolen item of hers, it turns to laughter. You'll see a suicide note and then hear a rope and suddenly there will be the shadow of a hanged man. You'll see a guy hanging from a tree but if you come back later, it'll just be a tire swing. Etc. There are also some cool easter eggs for SH fans.
It also just has some of the most unique things I've ever seen in a game. One particular thing had me thinking "That's ****ing brilliant."
The Otherworld is more unique than in any of the other games. It's like a nightmarish acid trip. Without going into detail as to not spoil it--there's a giant clock, there's chases, there's an upside down room, and much, much more.
The puzzles are well done. They require thinking but not to the point where you want to bang your head against a wall. I liked the addition of the UV light, which helps to see things you wouldn't be able to otherwise.
There's plenty of exploration in general, and the side quests definitely add to the experience. There's some really unique stuff thrown in there. One that I did last night was particularly cool.
And now we come to the story, one of the strong points of the series. I'll remain pretty vague because I don't want to spoil the story at all here. For one thing, what helped was that Murphy is actually a likable character. Like I said at the beginning, I think that's one of the weak aspects of the series as a whole. Well, not this time around. It was easy to like him because of his general attitude and demeanor, and how he reacted to certain things. The story was mysterious and intriguing and unfolded with small clues and hints that Silent Hill has always excelled at. You never know for sure if what you're expecting will happen. It's definitely sad, but what SH story isn't? People end up in that town for a reason. :p I feel confident in saying that there's at least one thing that you won't see coming.
The different endings help too since they can change things pretty drastically. Apparently I actually got the "worst" ending possible but to be honest I thought it was really cool because of the meaning behind it. I was thinking "What the **** just happened?" when it happened. :p I'd say the story is top three, only behind SH2 and SH4.
As for the game itself? Well, if you couldn't tell from everything said above, I quite enjoyed it. It's at least above Origins, Homecoming, and SH1. Probably even SH2. I know it's the fan favorite but it was always my third favorite (for reasons I stated at the top). It might even be higher up than that. I'd like to think about it more, though, since it's better to let it sink in first. I will say that the story is great, the atmosphere is great, the protagonist is likable, and it's very unique.
on March 1, 2013
I've heard a lot of complaints about this game, most of which revolve around the original games' composer leaving and a new composer being picked up-- I didn't notice much of a difference in terms of music, as I've played all the other "Silent Hill" games over the last fourteen years. The score is a little different, yeah, but it's not bad, in fact, I thought it was pretty chilling. Daniel Licht, known for "Hellraiser IV: Bloodline," did a fine job.
Now, onto the game. Without giving too much away, it's your standard "Silent Hill" fare, a man with a tragic past winds up in the spooky eponymous town of Silent Hill where he is forced to face his own sins that have manifested in the flesh into the forms of super scary monsters. This time around, your character, Murphy, is a convict on the loose after escaping a prison bus on his way to be transported to a maximum security facility that crashed into a ravine outside everyone's favorite spooky resort town.
That said, the game, like all the other "Silent Hill" titles, has what I've discovered to be two main "themes."
The first is a "personal theme," in this case, it's Murphy's prison lifestyle that helps mold the world around him. Prison is an interesting thing to explore in video-games and I'm surprised that they didn't use a convict or ex-con earlier in the series as a playable character. Many games ("Fable" springs to mind.) involve your character in prison at some point and a subsequent escape. So for Murphy, he's afraid of being locked up again, or we hear the sounds of police sirens in the distance and when they get close, hellish police cruisers appear and monsters pop out of them. It's that psychological "tripping" that has always made the series fantastic.
The second is what I call the "Pain Elemental," (Which I named after a monster in the original "Doom" games.) the Pain Elemental is the element that defines the game. In the first game, "Silent Hill" from 1999, it was fire, in the second game, "Restless Dreams" it was air. They dance around a lot, but in this game, as you'd expect from the title, it's water. In the experiences I've had in my life, I can tell you that water is far more destructive than fire-- having lived through floods, I know what water does to a house that gets hit by five feet of water outside without a basement for it to leak into when you're twenty yards from the overflowing creek. So yes, I'm afraid of water-- and that's one of the things that made this game so scary for me.
The game-play is a HUGE improvement over the previous title in the "canonical" series, which was "Silent Hill Homecoming." While "Homecoming" featured promising game-play unlike that which we'd seen in a "Silent Hill" title before, it was still buggy and out of place. "Silent Hill Downpour" perfects what "Homecoming" attempted to do, and that's create a third-person, frustration free camera angle survival horror game. The game is also, and this is going to sound weird, but fairly 'open world,' if you unlock the subway, you can travel all around town all you want and explore and do side-quests and whatnot. So that's another first for the series, is being able to explore the town in an almost sandbox-mode.
The story is, good as always. I have no complaints, and I don't want to give any more away than I already have seeing that I've explained a good amount of the story already. On a scale from one to ten, one being the worst game I've ever played and ten being the most fantastic game ever made, I'd give this a solid eight. It's the second-best game in the "Silent Hill" series, second only to "Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams," which is pretty much the best survival horror game ever made in terms of storytelling and scare-factor.
If you're a fan of the "Silent Hill" games, check it out. It's a pretty cheap game, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.
on March 15, 2012
I am a really big fan of the series. I also know that since Silent Hill 2 and 3 are my favorites (and many other fans' favorite as well), I find that there is no sense comparing each new installment of the Silent Hill to those titles. Some fans are so hell bent on finding the next perfect Silent Hill, they completely overlook anything enjoyable of the next installment. It's best to simply enjoy what comes next. In reality there is nothing much more developers can do to make it any better without angering someone out there with nothing better to do. Can't please everybody. I'm very glad new titles are still being made, and Downpour is a really good addition to the series.
The story draws you in instantly and the graphics are very nice other than some glitches, but it's not that annoying. The sense of disorientation within some rooms and mazes are well done. I love stopping for a second to look around at the detail. There is a lot of little things to notice and appreciate which is one of my favorite (and required in my opinion) aspects of the Silent Hill. The side quests are a very nice touch as well because it adds more gameplay time and willingness to play again.
The combat has the signature clunkiness to it which should be expected of all Silent Hill games, and the puzzles are decent. There are some problems with camera orientation when trying to flip quickly back and forth or move it quickly, but it is able to correct itself with the exception of being in a tight room. A couple of rooms have that old school limited camera angle that I remember SH1 had which is a nice touch. Not many games do that anymore, of course probably because I remember people complaining about it, but if you want to feel really nostalgic, it's nice to have that small little gameplay detail.
I think the limited weapons you carry actually work out pretty well. There is plenty of stuff to use and it gives the player more variety and realistic approach.
So even if you're iffy on buying it, waiting until it is available for rent is a good idea if you are limited on cash. I don't agree with a couple of "official" game reviews. It seems that they are just catering to what their marketing team believes players want to hear.
I gave this game full five stars because I love it and will be playing it a lot.
on April 11, 2012
There seems to be two camps in regards to this game. People who absolutely loved it and people who seemed to hate it with a passion like many of the critics. I fall into the category of love it. The reason why is because it reminded me so much of the older silent hill games especially 1, 2, and 3. The reason being it was genuinely scary for me. you never knew what was going to happen next like an enemy dropping down on you to knock you down or any of the scary little extras they put into the enviroments. I loved the side quests and thought they were an ingenious way to allow us to put more time into the game. Now one of the major complaints is the clunky combat. I say its clunky for a reason. Remember they were aiming for survival horror not another silent hill 5. It reminded me of the older games in the series because it was suspense laden. Alot of the same people ragging on downpour ragged on silent hill 5 because the main character was too combat ready and they thought it detracted from the feeling. Well heres what you asked for and still you complain about it. Combat was just as clunky in 1, 2, and 3 and yet this one is worse off because of it? The original team for silent hill is gone and i think people need to embrace change and let other people throw their ideas in. Not everything has to be the same as the original games and I for one appreciated this one. You can tell they were very respectful to the lore of silent hill and the story, for me, was amazing. Give this game a chance it wont hurt you. Especially if you liked the older silent hill games.
on January 31, 2016
This is the first Silent Hill game I've played since The Room on PS2, and I'm loving every minute of it. Like others, I'm a little puzzled about the mediocre reviews for this game, but I guess that's why there's so many different types of games around. Here's a few random thoughts, and I hope you'll assume the "in my opinion" part without me writing it all the time.
1. The atmosphere is terrific. Every bit as dark, stormy and eerie as you'd like it. (Yes, it's PS3 stuff but I don't mind. The occasional "clunkiness" gives it kind of a retro feel that I didn't find bothersome.)
2. This is a game where avoiding combat whenever possible is the way to go. Like other Silent Hill characters, Murphy is not a super hero, ninja, special forces type. He is, in fact, a bit clumsy with weapons and I think that's the idea. In most ways, he's pretty much a regular guy.
3. The game requires a real love for problem solving and lots of patience. For me, solving the many side quests - without cheating, of course - was very tough, indeed. (I'll admit it: I had a hard time finishing the Water Prison section in The Room, too. Now you know.)
Anyway, I'm just getting started on a replay now. As we Silent Hill people know, more stuff gets unlocked on a replay and I'm gonna find it all this time.